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Grant to TSRI-Led Consortium Expands to $207 Million

Responsibility Broadens for Enrollment of Participants into NIH Precision Medicine Initiative Cohort Program

LA JOLLA, CA – October 5, 2016 – The National Institutes of Health (NIH), as part of its national Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI) Cohort Program, has expanded a five-year funding award to The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) from $120 million to $207 million.

The award marks a significant increase in scope from the initial award announced in July and provides additional details about the network of partners in the TSRI-led consortium.

“The size of this award underscores the critical nature of this research in improving our ability to prevent and treat disease,” said TSRI President Peter Schultz. “We are thrilled to be part of such a major undertaking and look forward to supporting Dr. Eric Topol in leading this unprecedented project.”

Topol, who is director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute (STSI), professor of genomics at TSRI and chief academic officer at Scripps Health, will direct the award as part of the PMI Cohort Program, which seeks to engage one million or more U.S. participants in a historic medical research effort aimed at improving the ability to prevent and treat disease based on individual differences in lifestyle, environment and genetics.

STSI is a National Institutes of Health-sponsored site led by TSRI and Scripps Health. This innovative research partnership is leading the effort to translate wireless and genetic medical technologies into high-quality, cost-effective treatments and diagnostics for patients.

The new award expands the group’s role in overseeing the enrollment of 350,000 “direct volunteers,” individuals interested in joining the PMI research study directly rather than through a healthcare provider organization. In addition, the award funds the creation of a Participant Technologies Center (PTC) to develop, test, maintain and upgrade the mobile applications and technology platform used to enroll, consent, collect data from, communicate with and retain participants. The PTC will also develop parallel platforms to deliver these same functions to those without smartphones.

“We are exceptionally fortunate to be working with an unparalleled group of partners and to be able to leverage the strengths of these leaders from a broad spectrum of sectors—pharmaceutical companies and health insurers to wireless technology experts and mobile application developers,” said Topol. “The depth and breadth of expertise of these organizations will be invaluable to our goal of advancing individualized medicine at a national level.”

To enroll the 350,000 “direct volunteers,” Topol’s team at STSI will work with:

  • Walgreens, one of the nation's largest drugstore chains;
  • Leidos/QTC, the largest provider of government-outsourced occupational health and disability examination services;
  • Quintiles Quest (Q2) Solutions, the world’s largest provider of biopharmaceutical development and commercial outsourcing services;
  • San Diego Blood Bank, the primary supplier of blood to hospitals in San Diego County;
  • National Blood Collaborative, a national network of leading blood centers; and
  • EMSI, a leading national provider of both medical information and risk management services.

The network of partners focusing on technology development, data privacy and security, implementation and participant engagement for the study as a whole involves Walgreens, Leidos and other partners including:

  • Vibrent Health, a premier health technology platform developer;
  • Sage Bionetworks, a leader in biomedical research-related mobile-apps and platforms;
  • WebMD, a leading health and medical news publisher;
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, a national federation of 36 independent, community-based and locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that collectively provide healthcare coverage for more than 106 million members;
  • PatientsLikeMe, a premier online patient network;
  • Computer Science Corporation, one of the largest global healthcare system integrators and major provider of call center support; and
  • Qualcomm Inc., a leader in 4G and next-generation mobile technologies.

“Not only is the Precision Medicine Initiative the most ambitious health research program ever undertaken, it will also serve as a model for the way healthcare can be provided in the future—more convenient, less costly and more individualized,” said Steven Steinhubl, director of Digital Medicine at STSI.

For more information on the Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI), visit https://www.whitehouse.gov/precision-medicine. For more information on the PMI Cohort Program and to sign up for updates, visit https://www.nih.gov/precision-medicine-initiative-cohort-program.

About The Scripps Research Institute

The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) is one of the world's largest independent, not-for-profit organizations focusing on research in the biomedical sciences. TSRI is internationally recognized for its contributions to science and health, including its role in laying the foundation for new treatments for cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, hemophilia, and other diseases. An institution that evolved from the Scripps Metabolic Clinic founded by philanthropist Ellen Browning Scripps in 1924, the institute now employs more than 2,500 people on its campuses in La Jolla, CA, and Jupiter, FL, where its renowned scientists—including two Nobel laureates and 20 members of the National Academy of Science, Engineering or Medicine—work toward their next discoveries. The institute's graduate program, which awards PhD degrees in biology and chemistry, ranks among the top ten of its kind in the nation. For more information, see www.scripps.edu.

About Scripps Translational Science Institute

The Scripps Translational Science Institute aims to replace traditional one-size-fits-all medicine with individualized health care by leveraging the power of genomic medicine, wireless health sensors and mobile phone applications, and other digital medicine technologies. In a unique collaboration, STSI merges the considerable biomedical science expertise of The Scripps Research Institute with Scripps Health’s exceptional patient care and clinical research capabilities. STSI is supported in part by the National Institutes of Health Clinical and Translational Science Award. For more information, visit www.stsiweb.org.

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Eric Topol is director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute, chief academic officer at Scripps Health and professor of genomics at The Scripps Research Institute. (Photo by Mark Dastrup.) (High-res image)


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